Farewell To All We Know


Despite, or rather thanks to, his cynical despair, Matt Elliott's music never holds up a moralizing mirror to us -- on the contrary, it creates a compassionate dialogue with listeners like the rhythm of two steps that synchronize to become as one. On Farewell To All We Know, Matt began working with the producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist David Chalmin (La Terre Invisible) who has continued collaborating with the Bristol-born singer. Farewell To All We Know is an instant classic based on the sensitive piano and superb arrangements of David Chalmin, the sensitive cello of Gaspar Claus, the subtle bass of Jeff Hallam (who has also played with Dominique A and John Parish). There is a clear form of alchemy in all of this and still we find Matt Elliott's usual atmospheres and scenery, the same Eastern European folk music, long songs that take time to settle over time. "What Once Was Hope" seems torn between the fear of what tomorrow may bring, inevitability and hope for the future in a permanent and progressive dramatic tension. There are touches of Leonard Cohen from Songs From A Room (1969) or Thanks For The Dance (2019) in The Day After That with Gaspar Claus's counterpoint cello. The haunted instrumental "Guidance Is Internal" harks back to the atmospheres of Howling Songs (2008) with its guitar parts full of scansions and muted threats. The music is transcendental but never seems afraid of the risk of falling. This is also what "Bye Now" tells you with its quasi-obsolete simplicity and sunburst melancholy reminiscent of the work of Luiz Bonfá, Bill Evans, on "Peace Piece" or laidback crooners of the '50s. In Farewell To All We Know, Matt Elliott incessantly alternates between the dual desires to face up to the world or to protect himself from it. "Hating The Player, Hating The Game" is a lucid statement about the dullness of our daily lives sometimes, our right to get out of the game and no longer want to be part of it. "Aboulia" speaks of the tiredness of living and of looming death while "Crisis Apparition" says that there is always a time for reconstruction after chaos. This is like initially wearying wandering in the ruins of Aleppo with the slow dilution of the melody into a hallucinated drone. However, the smell of great fires always fades and the earth always regenerates.